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Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2015 Archive

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“Loyalist Trails” 2015-15: April 12, 2015


The Legacy of a Loyalist Doctor (Part Two), by Stephen Davidson

Elizabeth Bayley was just nine years old when the American Revolution came to an end. The city that she had always known as a bastion of the British Empire was now part of the new United States of America. All that had been a normal part of her loyalist childhood was turned upside down as her family adjusted to the new realities of a republican New York City.

Part of the routine of Elizabeth's childhood was working alongside her stepmother, Charlotte (Barclay) Bayley, as she participated in the charity work of the Anglican Church, distributing food and necessities to the poor in their homes. Elizabeth would also have helped in the care of the four children that were born to Charlotte and her father, Dr. Richard Bayley.

When Elizabeth's father and stepmother ended their marriage, Charlotte Bayley wanted nothing to do with her husband's first two daughters. Having lost her mother when she was three and her stepmother in her teens, Elizabeth was then separated from her father when he sailed for England to pursue further studies. Elizabeth and her sister were put in the care of their uncle, William Bayley who lived in New Rochelle. Isolated from parents, Elizabeth found solace in her faith, reading devotional classics, poetry and her Bible.

Elizabeth's loneliness ended when she came to the attention of William Seton II, the son of a loyalist businessman. The senior Seton had been the last Royal Public Notary for New York. As a successful merchant, his import trade provided him with the resources to buy land in Halifax, Nova Scotia before the outbreak of the revolution. Seton lost this real estate during the war. Some historians believe that because he opted to stay in New York rather than leaving with other loyalists, the authorities in Halifax did little to help him retrieve his lost property. (One source asserts that Seton's lost property eventually became the site of Nova Scotia's legislature.) Had he taken his family to Halifax, his son would never have met Elizabeth Bayley, the daughter of another loyalist who remained in New York City.

Young William and Elizabeth were married on January 25, 1794 and moved into a home on Wall Street. Despite the demands of being the wife of a prominent man and the mother of his five children, Elizabeth followed the example of her humanitarian parents and threw herself into the charity ministries of Trinity Episcopal Church. Within three years of becoming Mrs. Seton, she helped to found the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children.

As noted earlier, Elizabeth also assisted her father in his role as health officer for New York City, assessing the well being of immigrants as they arrived in the city. She was 27 years old when her father succumbed to yellow fever, but Richard Bayley's death did not deter her from helping those less fortunate.

Elizabeth's husband William suffered from tuberculosis. His New York doctors recommended that he spend the winter of 1803-1804 in the sunnier climate of Italy. Seton had a trading partner, Antonio Filicchi, in Pisa Italy, and so the couple decided to journey there with their oldest daughter.

However, when the Setons' ship arrived off the coast of Italy, it was put into quarantine for a month as a precaution against yellow fever that had been raging through New York. In the end, William Seton died in Pisa in December of 1803.

Elizabeth sought solace with the Filicchi family and was drawn to their strong Roman Catholic faith. Praying for enlightenment, Elizabeth returned to New York City in the summer of 1804. In less than a year's time, she was convinced that the Church of Rome was the true faith and was received into the Catholic Church.

Elizabeth's Episcopalian relatives and in-laws were shocked at her conversion, and all but two of her family ostracized her. Her husband's trading firm was bankrupt, so the loyalist's daughter was left to her own resources to support herself and her children. She decided to found a private school for girls, but the anti-Catholic biases of her day caused parents to withdraw their daughters when they learned of Elizabeth's conversion. It seemed that Mrs. Seton's only option was to move to Lower Canada where she would be welcomed as both a Roman Catholic and a loyalist's daughter.

However, just before Elizabeth packed up her belongings to join other loyalists, she met a French priest who was a Sulpician Father. His order had fled the chaos of the French Revolution to establish the first Catholic seminary in the United States. In 1809, Elizabeth accepted the Sulpicians' invitation to establish a school for girls in Emmitsburg, Maryland, the first of the Catholic parochial schools in the United States.

However, the legacy of social concern left to her by her father and stepmother would not let her ignore the needs of the poor. Elizabeth founded the first American congregation of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, to care for destitute children. Elizabeth Bayley, the daughter of a loyalist daughter -- Mrs. William Seton, the wife of a loyalist's son--would now be known as Mother Seton for the remainder of her life.

Elizabeth died of tuberculosis on January 4, 1821. But like her loyalist father, her influence did not end with her death. Within a decade of her passing, the Sisters of Charity were operating schools, hospitals, and orphanages in states as far west as the Mississippi River. In the 21st century, there are six different Roman Catholic communities who trace their origins to Mother Seton's Sisters of Charity. One of those orders established Mount St. Vincent in Halifax, Nova Scotia -- the city in which Elizabeth Seton's father-in-law had once owned property -- while another founded a House of Prayer in Quebec -- a city that almost became a home for Elizabeth and her children.

The work of a woman who dedicated her life to education and the poor was eventually recognized in 1975 when Pope Paul VI canonized Elizabeth Seton as the first American-born saint, proclaiming her the patron saint of seafarers. While she was celebrated as "the first flower in the calendar of saints" and "an American", her loyalist heritage was not mentioned on the day of her canonization.

The intellectual legacy of Elizabeth's father was preserved in his medical papers, lectures, and an anatomical museum, but Richard Bayley's spiritual legacy of concern for the downtrodden found its fulfillment in his daughter. Those first years that Elizabeth spent in New York City during the American Revolution helped to shape the woman who Roman Catholics are convinced was chosen by God to do His work in America. But that would have come as no surprise to the founder of another Roman Catholic order. Ignatius Loyola is credited with observing, "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man" -- or, as in Elizabeth Bayley Seton's case -- the woman.

To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.

Digital Gazette: Help Save Costs by April 14

Each person who receives the digital version of the Spring Gazette – and no paper copy – receives the benefits of the electronic copy (full colour, less storage space etc.) and helps reduce expenses as well. BUT in order to reduce expenses, we need to know if you will accept ONLY the digital copy before April 14, when the printing will be ordered

Register today if you are into digital at all (you can still get the mailed copy)

Help the UELAC and enjoy the Gazette.

...Publications Committee

Where in the World?

Where are Gov. Simcoe Branch members Doug Grant and Nancy Conn, with Nancy's sister, Mary Ann?

To participate, submit a photo of yourself in UELAC promotional gear at a place of some note and tell us where it is. If you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well – send to Jennifer Childs.

Region and Branch Bits

From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.

  • Remembering the Pledge of the Crown Commemoration of a ceremony held 200 years ago at Burlington Heights. In 1815 William Claus (then Indian Agent) presented the Native Nations who had been allies of the British with the Pledge of the Crown Wampum and promises that they would be able to pass over the border freely, rights and privileges from 1811 would be restored, and the Kings bounty (annual gifts) would continue to be given. Bob Rennie, Grand River Branch will portray Col William Claus at this event at Dundurn.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Peter Newsman is not slowing down anytime soon. He is completing the final chapter of a new book on United Empire Loyalists, which is due to be published in the fall. He has two other book projects on the go and keeps up a robust teaching schedule at Ryerson and other universities as well as being the Journalist in Residence at the Royal Military College in Kingston. On May 8 and 9, Newman is the headliner and festival patron of the Gananoque Literary Festival at which he will talk about his United Empire Loyalist book, titled Hostages to Fortune, which will be published by Simon and Schuster Canada. Peter, living in Kingston, plans to move to Gananoque. Read article.
  • Dr. Joseph Warren's Boston Massacre Oration of March 1775. His live presentation differed from printings -- here is the manuscript transcription in full text
  • [Addendum to last week] Library and Archives resumes spending after six years of cuts.  In its first purchase in six years, the collector of national art and archives announced Thursday it would spend $175,000 on 10 items from the coveted Winkworth collection. Read more.
  • Parks Canada and the Lincoln and Welland Regiment (roots in Butler's Rangers) Foundation agreed to fund a new Military Heritage Centre for the Niagara Region. The museum is to be built on Niagara-on-the-Lake's Fort George National Historic Site.

Additions to the Loyalist Directory

As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:

  • German, Jacob - from Bev Craig, with certificate application
  • Inglis, Bishop Charles - from Brian McConnell
  • Peters, Thomas - from Fran Rose
  • Peters, Samuel - from Fran Rose

Please help us build the directory by contributing more information for it. Contact for instructions and guidance.

Last Post

Jean Ellen Habing (nee Fleming), UE

Jean (1912 -2014) was 102 years and 5 months old when she passed away peacefully on December 10, 2014. She was born the year the Titanic sunk and lived until the year a man-made module landed on a comet. She was the daughter of Elizabeth (nee Haire) and Albert Fleming, of Pilot Mound, Manitoba.

Jean often talked of the thrilling autumn days in Pilot Mound when the threshing gangs arrived with their steam threshers and large crews. She attended Normal School in Manitoba in the early thirties and taught for approximately ten years in the rural schools of Manitoba. While teaching in Hazelridge, Manitoba, Jean met Norman Habing, also a school teacher, who was at the time, working in a chordite factory. When Pearl Harbour was bombed on December 7, 1941, Jean and Norman made immediate plans to be married.

Jean followed Norman through his naval telegrapher training to St. Hyacinth Quebec, Prince Rupert BC, and finally to Vancouver. A daughter, Janice (Harald Hansen), was born in Vancouver in 1944. Later, after Jean and Norm bought a chicken farm in Delta, BC, a son, Albert (Barbara Feddema), was born in 1953. In the '70's Jean researched and wrote an extensive genealogy of the Fleming family My Search for the James Fleming Family starting with James Fleming who took up land in Elgin County, Ontario,in the early 1790's. Through Barbara Windecker, Jame's wife, Jean was later able to establish her connection to Heinrich Windecker, a proven Loyalist, and, through this connection receive her designation as a Loyalist descendent. In the early 1990's Jean and Norman moved to Dawson Creek, BC, where both their children currently reside.

Jean is survived by her children, Janice and Albert and their spouses, grandchildren Trevor and lngebjorg Jean Hansen,and Lana and Ryan Thomas, several great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. A small family service will occur in the spring in Dawson Creek's Creekside Cemetery where Jean will be laid to rest beside her beloved husband, Norman.

I would welcome contact with any other Windecker or James Fleming/Barbara Windecker relatives.

...Elizabeth Hansen

Donald James Hughes

Passed peacefully in his sleep at home on Saturday, March 28, 2015 in his 81st year. Loving husband of Patricia (Nee Craig) U.E. Dear father of the late James Craig Hughes U.E. (2013). Fondly remembered by Judy Heath & Tom Adamtau, Tim, Heather, Dawson, and Alicia Wilson. Don was a 50 year member of Adoniram Lodge A.F. & A.M., No. 573 G.R.C., an Assessor for the Province of Ontario, Niagara, Region 18 for 39 years, and a proud honorary member of the United Empire Loyalists' Association Colonel John Butler (Niagara) Branch.

Don always had a smile on his face and a story for anyone who would listen. Friends were received at Hetherington & Deans Funeral Chapel on Wednesday, April 1, 2015; the funeral service was held in the chapel. Interment followed at Lundy's Lane Cemetery. As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations to the Niagara Falls Humane Society or to the Canadian Mental Health Association would be appreciated. Online tributes and condolences may be made at

...Bev Craig, UE, Col John Butler Branch

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